Hundreds of Durham office workers balloted for strike

Staff from Olympic sponsor Atos at Milburngate House, Durham,  meeting on Thursday, to discuss a ballot that would possibly mean a walkout during the 2012 games.
Staff from Olympic sponsor Atos at Milburngate House, Durham, meeting on Thursday, to discuss a ballot that would possibly mean a walkout during the 2012 games.
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MORE than 380 office workers in Durham City are being asked to approve strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions.

They work in Millburngate House, Framwellgate Riverside, for information technology support company Atos on contracts for National Savings and Investments, the Borders Agency, the Vehicle Operator Standards Agency and the BBC.

Public and Commercial Services Union representative Ken Weaver said: “We have a significant number of staff on between £15,000 and £17,000 a year.

“The current offer from the company is worth less than two per cent to most of them.

“We do not wish to strike, but having a ballot demonstrates to the company we are not taking this dispute lightly.

“Our demands are basically for a rise to at least keep pace with the cost of living, so I don’t think the two sides are very far apart.”

A meeting in the office car park attended by about 100 workers was told Atos chief executive Thierry Breton earned £1.9million last year, and his bonus of £1million would fund the pay award sought by the union.

It is expected the result of the ballot will be announced on Friday.

A spokesman for Atos said: “We are currently in discussions with PCS and have made a fair and competitive offer.

“We have robust contingency plans in place to avoid any disruption to services in the event of a strike.”